Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our God-given right

This is one of those posts. It's going to make some people uncomfortable. Sorry in advance but my opinion is based on what I have lived. My testimony.

People are constantly telling us how amazing we are in this adoption thing. And we are far from amazing. We have just seen the impact of not doing adoption this way first hand. And as we love our little boy to distraction we want to save him pain.

We have an open adoption. And it seems, a very open one. Open adoption is not a choice here in NZ as it is elsewhere. It's how it is. The truth is that initially an open adoption is far harder on the adoptive parents. A closed adoption is easier to start your life as parents with. But it's not what is best for the child. And long term an open adoption is far easier for everyone.

Adoption runs like a thread through Dida's family. His granddad was adopted as was his father. His grandmother fell pregnant when she was 17 years old and grandad raised her daughter Anna*, as his own. In turn Anna fell pregnant when she was also 17 years old and was forced to give her daughter, Celia*, up for adoption. ALL of these adoptions were closed. ALL of these adoptions have caused immeasurable pain to the WHOLE extended family.

Take Anna for example. Every time we see her she seeks me out. And talks with tears running down her face. Of finding her birth daughter again, of how Anna's adoptive mother is hostile, of the fact that she didn't find her own birthfather until it was too late. On and on, the pain spins out. Then when she can't talk anymore she always turns and looks at Rupi. And asks about Sweetpea, when we last saw her, how she's doing. She relives it all in a good way through our adoption. She says it heals her.

Then there's Celia, Anna's daughter. Anna and Celia found each other when Celia was 35 years old. Celia's Mom would not help her. Anna is desperate for any contact with Celia. She says to me that she will take whetever she can get. I understand Celia's Mom's fear. Of how threatened she feels. Selfishly I want to demystify Sweetpea. Make her a natural part of our lives. So there isn't this massive and undeniable need to seek her out. So that she is available and the relationship is a natural one that grows and develops alongside ours.

And lastly there's my Da, my beloved father-in-law. Who's adoption caused him such pain. His birth mother found him as an adult and would visit him occasionally. These visits were so traumatic for him, even as a grown man, that my mother-in-law would find in a foetal position on the bed afterwards. Sobbing.

Closed adoption is not cool. And I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I believe it's our God given right to know our biological heritage.

Dida and I are are not doing our open adoption because we are incredible selfless human beings. We are doing it because to NOT to do it, would be unbelievably cruel to our son.

Something to remember...

There are degrees of open-ness and each family needs to judge what is good for them. If Sweetpea was a drug addict or Rupi was a result of a rape, things would be very different. We are totally blessed that Sweetpea (and J of course as the birth dad) are wonderful people and our family cultures are similar.

So please. If you or anyone you know is adopting, talk to them about an open adoption. Refer them to my blog or email me. Thank you so much xxx

* Not their real names



Nicole said...

Nice post. I believe it's vital to know where you came from to know where you're going. My mother doesn't fully know her biological paternal line. And I can tell that it still has such an impact on her - even as a grown woman.

Elizabeth said...

I have an older brother who was adopted out at birth - closed adoption, due to the times. Praise the Lord, for him and Mum it turned out wonderful - he has amazing parents who have done their very best by him. He found Mum just before his eldest child turned one... what a blessing that was for Mum, as she was able to put closure on a rough time in her life and move on. It hasn't been easy as contact is sporadic, and Mum isn't allowed to be the Grandma she wants to be - but overall it was a positive experience from our end of the adoption. She has met her sons parents as well, and they keep in close contact with her and have given her a lot of photos of her son growing up. They get in incredibly well... but I know our story is unusual as well; it's not the norm unfortunately.

PaisleyJade said...

Really appreciate you thoughts here and I have friends who have been through this and I totally agree with you!

Mumma2s said...

I totally agree here. As a sister to adopted siblings, being bought up in a family that also fostered and being a social worker I see it time and time again. Rupi will appreciate your commitment to his birth family when he is grown and as you said if they were in a different situation it would be different. You have been blessed with your situation.
As you said.....If only it was more common there would be a lot more emotionally attached and stable people around.

Gail said...

You would definitely be a first port of call if ever I came across someone who needed advise.

I think for me, the stories I have heard and seen in real -life have been so contrasting to your journey! Like those you mention from Dida's thread.

Shelby said...

I am so glad you are sharing your story. I would love to talk to you more about it. Our adoption is considered "semi-open" because we do send pictures and letters very often to P's birth mom. I also have contact with his paternal grandmother - exchanging letters and pictures. She sends me pics of his birth dad and other family and letters from her to P when he is older. His birth parents are both drug addicts, and therefore we get a little nervous about totally open contact. However, we did meet them both. I know his birth mom loves him so much and truly wanted what was best for him. I would love for us to be able to see her periodically, I'm just not totally sure how to go about it. She knows the state we live in and our first names and we exchange correspondence through our attorney right now, but I my hope is to change that one day. We pray for her daily and want P to know his biological family. I agree it is so important for him as he grows older. Thanks for sharing. Maybe we can exchange some private e-mails - I would love to ask you a few more questions.

Tiffany said...

What great information for those of us who no nothing about adoption. Thank you for sharing and being open.

Simoney said...

WOW Sammy, powerful post.
Like Gail,you are always the first person i think of for advice when i come across someone struggling with any of these things.

Shelby said...

I definitely want to talk to you more about this. Our adoption is considered "semi-open" because we do send pics and letters to P's birth mom, we met her and his birth father, and we communicate with his paternal grandparents. They all know our first names and what state we live in, but because of his birth parent's drug issues, we have not revealed anything more. My prayer is that all of that will change in time and we will be able to see them. I do truly believe that is best for the children and I want him to know them all along. Anyway, we are praying about how and when to open it up even more. Maybe we can exchange some private e-mails. Talk soon.

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